From toilet paper to diapers, here’s a list of household staples that are about to get more expensive

Stockpiling toilet paper
  • Several companies including Procter & Gamble and General Mills have announced price hikes.
  • The goods most heavily impacted include paper products and baby-care items.
  • Coke products and coffee will see price increases as port delays continue to pinch the supply chain.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Many household goods are getting more expensive, as companies like Procter & Gamble and General Mills hike prices to combat shortages and rising shipping costs.

During their third-quarter earnings call, P&G said it has started raising prices on some of its paper goods, including baby-care, feminine hygiene products, and adult diapers. The price hike would encompass Pampers diapers, Charmin toilet paper, Tampax and Always feminine products, as well as Depends and Prevail adult products.

“The exact amount of the price increase will vary by brand and sub-brand in the range of mid-to-high single-digit percentages and will go into effect in mid-September,” P&G said in a statement.

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Some of P&G’s primary competitors, including Kimberly-Clark, have already announced similar price increases. In March, the company said it would implement a price increase for top products like Scott toilet paper and Huggies diapers.

Similarly, General Mills CFO Kofi Bruce said during the company’s March earnings call that it was planning to increase its prices to offset rising commodity costs as the company’s margins continue to fall. While the company did not specify what products would be impacted, General Mills’ line-up of brands includes Cheerios, Chex, Betty Crocker, and Pillsbury products, to name a few.

On Monday, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told CNBC the company is planning to hike its prices for the first time in over three years. Quincey did not say which beverages would be impacted by the price increases.

“We intend to manage those [the price hikes] intelligently, thinking through the way we use package sizes and really optimize the price points for consumers,” the CEO said.

Coke is not the only drink that will get more expensive in the coming months. Coffee prices are set to skyrocket. Peet’s and J.M. Smucker told CNBC in March that they are facing rising costs. Last month, port delays pushed coffee prices to their highest level in over a year.

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J.M. Smucker – the brand known for Folgers and Dunkin coffee – was one of the first companies to start hiking prices when it increased the price tag for its Jif peanut butter products in August.

Many of the companies including P&G and Coca-Cola saw sales continue to rise in the last quarter, even from the previous year when people were stockpiling products at the onset of the pandemic. While an increase in demand can only be a positive for companies, demand is outstripping supply and driving up the overall price of goods.

Consumer interest is rising at the same time the products themselves are getting increasingly difficult to obtain due to the shipping container shortage and port congestion.

March data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index shows that as vaccination rates increase, prices continue to go up. Consumer prices increased in 2021 over last year at their highest rate in three years.

While gasoline prices have seen the largest increase, the cost of food, rental cars, and hotels has also pushed higher.

For top companies like P&G – that encompass everyday products and top brands like Tide, Gillette, Crest, Bounty, and Pantene – consumers will likely continue to see inflated prices at the grocery store, as demand compounds on vaccine optimism and port congestion shows no sign of clearing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Walmart, Delta, and Coca-Cola refused to join hundreds of other companies in opposing restrictive voting laws – here’s why

Georgia polling place
A voter walks to the entrance during early voting for the Senate runoff election, at Ron Anderson Recreation Center, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Powder Springs, Ga. Todd Kirkland/AP

While hundreds of major companies signed a new letter Wednesday opposing restrictive voting rules in the wake of Georgia’s election law, some notable ones – including Walmart, Coca-Cola, JPMorgan, and Delta Air Lines – declined to join the effort.

The letter, which ran as a full-page ad in the Wednesday edition of The New York Times and Washington Post, opposed “any discriminatory legislation” that limited people’s ability to vote. United Airlines, American Express, Facebook, Target, investor Warren Buffett, and others joined the effort.

Last month, a smaller group of companies signed a letter with similar sentiment organized by Black business leaders.

But, the Times reported, several companies declined to sign Wednesday’s letter, including Georgia-based Coca-Cola, Delta, and Home Depot, as well as Walmart and JPMorgan Chase.

“We publicly made our own strong statement last month about the critical importance of every citizen being able to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” a spokesperson for JPMorgan said.

The bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, was one of the first major business leaders to speak out against the law, saying on CNN that he encourages workers to exercise their right to vote and opposes any efforts that would prevent them from doing so.

When asked about not signing onto Wednesday’s statement, a spokesperson for Home Depot said: “We’ve decided that the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our belief that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation, and to continue to work to ensure our associates in Georgia and across the country have the information and resources to vote.”

Read more: Corporate America’s response to Georgia’s new voting laws isn’t benevolence. It’s about economics and profit, experts say.

Coca-Cola didn’t respond to a request for comment. The beverage-maker faced consumer boycotts last month for not doing enough to oppose the bill. It later said it wanted to be “crystal clear” that it was disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting law. That sparked former President Donald Trump, a noted Diet Coke fanatic, to tell his followers to protest the company.

Delta and Walmart also didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Amid pressure to condemn the Georgia voting law, Delta CEO Ed Bastian blasted the legislation last month, saying it was “based on a lie.”

The Times reported that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told employees in a note that the company is “not in the business of partisan politics,” noting that the retailer focuses on business issues such as taxes and regulation. In the note, he added that “broad participation and trust in the election process” are essential to the integrity of elections.

In March, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the election bill, known as SB202, into law. The legislation made ballot drop boxes permanent, but only at select locations during limited hours, and shortened the window for requesting absentee ballots. The law also banned ballot selfies, and expanded early voting dates and hours in most counties, among other restrictive measures.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Corporate America is still dangerously delusional about what the GOP has become

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talks to reporters with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) following the weekly Senate Republican caucus luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill March 16, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • The GOP corporate America used to know and love is gone.
  • What we have now is an angrier GOP willing to punish companies that disagree with it.
  • It’s un-American, and it has nothing to do with the free market, but apparently the base likes it.
  • That means sorry, the old GOP went out to get a pack of smokes and it ain’t coming back.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Corporations need to hear this, and probably a few half-hearted Republicans do too – former House Speaker John Boehner’s GOP isn’t coming back.

Boehner was perhaps the last leader of a now-dead Republican party we used to know. The one that was born during the Reagan years. The GOP that kept its hands out of the affairs of private enterprise, that championed free speech, that knew how to cut a deal, that you might want to have a glass of Merlot and a cigar with – that GOP’s gone.

Instead we have a GOP that has no problem interfering with private business decisions. Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas, for example, just signed legislation prohibiting private companies from requiring vaccination passports from customers.

Instead we have a GOP that punishes companies that do not share its political beliefs. In Georgia, the state House voted to strip Atlanta-based Delta Airlines of a $35 million fuel tax credit because it spoke out against a law that would make it harder for people to get to the polls. After decades of advocating for corporations to have more political power, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned companies to “stay out of politics,” only to somewhat walk it back after remembering who his donors are.

Some corporations – like Jet Blue, which just restarted donations to Republicans who voted against certification of election on January 6 – are trying to get back to business as usual. Instead they should be getting ready to play defense. With this GOP corporations are likely to become collateral damage as every issue devolves into total culture war.

Yes, the Democrats want to raise corporate taxes, but the Republicans have no problem punishing companies when they stand up for basic functions of our democracy – like easy access to voting – that the party now happens to oppose. That’s the choice for corporations now.

A GOP in need of anger management

All of this stands in contrast to recently published experts of Boehner’s soon-to-be-released memoir – an account of a man watching his party go insane. According to him, in 2010 as the party was radicalizing “a total moron and get elected just by having an R next” to their name.” He described birtherism – the wind beneath the wings of Donald Trump’s political aspirations – as “truly nutty.” All of it, he said, made it nearly impossible to cut deals with the Obama administration.

This isn’t to say that Boehner isn’t partly responsible for what the GOP has become, but it’s telling that he has written a memoir that marks a line in the sand between the GOP he presided over and the one that coalesced under Trump. He knows that the GOP post-Boehner era is an assemblage of everything that pushed him out of Washington on steroids.

Part of what Trump added to the “truly nutty” was pure rage. In an excerpt published by Punchbowl News, Boehner said after he shared a round of golf with Trump, it was the future president’s anger that stood out to him the most. A staffer accidentally told Trump and Boehner the wrong names of two men playing golf with them. Boehner shrugged it off, but Trump eviscerated the staffer publicly in a way that took Boehner aback.

“We had no idea then what that anger would do to our country,” Boehner wrote.

Even with Trump gone, the politics of anger he brought to the fore has remained with the GOP. We are just getting a sense of how it is settling in our politics now, and corporations will not be left unscathed. Politically motivated consumer boycotts have been an American pastime for both parties for generations, but today’s GOP has shown a willingness to dole out legislative punishment to corporations for what should be relatively uncontroversial political statements in ways we have not seen before in this nation, embracing the totality of “you’re either with us, or you’re against us.”

This is not just a phase

Right now the GOP and corporate America have a similar problem with Biden’s proposed infrastructure and tax legislation – the ideas are popular. A Reuters poll found that 79% of Americans support a government overhaul of American roadways, railroads, bridges, and ports. 71% support a plan to get high speed internet to everyone. Over 65% support replacing lead pipes and creating tax credits for green energy.

Americans are also supportive of raising corporate taxes. A Pew Research poll found that 62% of Americans are bothered “a lot” by how little tax corporations pay. That is to say, headlines about Biden raising corporate taxes in order to improve America’s airports are unlikely to upset many Americans.

Now, corporations will try to deal with this problem the the traditional way – by sending their lobbyists to Capitol Hill.

But the GOP has found another way to deal with the disconnect between its policies and their popularity – by staying laser focused on anger and never-ending culture war. Fox News has launched two new shows centered around cancel culture because that’s what excites its viewers. And the loudest GOP politicians with the most obvious aspirations for the presidency have decided that punishing corporations for being on the “wrong side” of any hot button issue is a political win with their base.

That is why corporations should get used to the reality that this is not just a phase. The Republican party requires a major adjustment to go back to what it was. Instead it is becoming more populist and more radical.

If you want to know in what direction the GOP is headed, look no futher than a man who will go anywhere the wind is blowing – Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Once a protege of the Bush family, now his social media is chockablock with culture war video rants that sound like an audition for a primetime slot on Fox News. Recently he blasted Major League Baseball for the league’s decision – triggered by the aforementioned voting law – to move their All-Star Game out of Atlanta. Rubio decided to hit back at MLB by ranting about its business dealings in China and Cuba, obviously lacking the self awareness to realize that at this very moment, the Chinese Communist Party is harassing companies for their political and human rights stances as well.

The GOP may not raise corporate taxes, but it now behooves it to attack corporate interests in other ways. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley – a young man who has had quite a lot of success fundraising after helping to incite the January 6 Capitol riot – tweeted about punishing “woke” companies using antitrust legislation to break them up. I needn’t tell you that punishing companies for taking a political stance is not what anti-trust legislation is for.

This is the direction the Republican party is moving in. Remember that it did not present a platform during the 2020 presidential election. It did not reiterate a belief in the free market or free speech or small government or democracy. All it had was Donald Trump, and the anger that blew John Boehner and his GOP away. It’s time to come to terms with that.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Corporate America wants to avoid higher taxes and social issues. That’s not likely to happen.

Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • For years, America’s biggest companies have steered clear of politics, except for hefty donations.
  • Now, there’s more of an expectation for them to speak out, just as they face a big tax increase.
  • Companies probably don’t want a tax increase, and seem mixed on responding to it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Corporate America is going through growing pains on political activism – but it’s still trying to fight off higher taxes. In the Biden era, the two may go hand in hand.

Long apolitical, the dynamic that emerged during the Trump years of big business weighing in on hot-button social issues has, if anything, accelerated in 2021, as reflected in the recent corporate outcry against Georgia’s recent legislation to restrict voting rights.

At nearly the same time, corporate America has been far less aligned with the progressive agenda of funding a large infrastructure and jobs plan with a boost to the corporate tax rate. In fact, only fours ago, in 2017, the business community cheered its biggest win on taxes in decades under former President Donald Trump, when the corporate rate was slashed from 35% all the way down to 21%.

As part of his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package. Biden wants to jack the corporate tax rate up to 28%. It represents a hit to corporate profits and many influential business groups are staunchly opposed to it, along with congressional Republicans.

The Chamber of Commerce’s chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, said the organization “agrees with the Biden administration that there is a great need to invest in American infrastructure and that ‘inaction is simply not an option.'” However, he added, “that doesn’t mean we should proceed with tax hikes that will hurt American businesses and cost American jobs.”

And Josh Bolten, chief executive officer of Business Roundtable, told Bloomberg TV on Thursday that Biden should stick with “real infrastructure” like roads and bridges – and he was “strongly against” the corporate tax hike.

Some individual business leaders are coming out in favor of Biden’s tax increase. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said that the company is supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate, although he didn’t specify what rate he supports. Lyft president and cofounder John Zimmer has thrown his support behind the 28% rate.

Many other companies are staying tight-lipped about how, exactly, they feel – while perhaps complaining in private, as reported by Politico.

Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Corporate taxes seen as a ‘less charged issue’

The corporate response on taxes is a sharp break from the outcry over Georgia. An open letter from 72 Black executives last week was quickly followed by another joint statement from over 170 business leaders urging state lawmakers against “imposing barriers that result in longer lines at the polls or that reduce access to secure ballot dropboxes.”

Companies in the latest letter included Microsoft, HP and Dow.

Vanessa Burbano, an assistant professor of management at Columbia Business School, said the phenomenon of companies taking political stances is relatively new. She said what companies do choose to speak out publicly about varies – although a handful of companies releasing their own statements does put pressure on others.

Doug Schuler, a professor of business and public policy at Rice University, argued the letter from Black CEOs opened the door for other prominent business figures to take a similar step.

He told Insider that his sense of what CEOS were trying to do was “to make statements to their customers, to their workforce, and perhaps investors they are sensitive to these social issues – it’s an issue they should be on the right side of.”

Agreeing to pay more in taxes to fund Biden’s plan to “build back better,” though? Many CEOs don’t want to be on the right side of that.

The corporate tax rate is “a less charged issue than some of the others that we’ve seen companies take stances on in the past, like including what happened in Georgia, including things related to immigration or LGBTQ rights or things like this that are sort of influence the individual stakeholder much more directly,” Burbano said.

Rep. Don Beyer
Rep Don Beyer.

Politicians are also divided

Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who’s a key vote in the Senate, has expressed his concerns over raising the rate to 28%. He’s more in favor of a 25% rate – and his support will prove pivotal to the eventual passage of any plan as Democrats grapple with slim majorities in Congress.

“Claims that American businesses cannot compete with a corporate tax rate above 28% ignore the clear and indisputable evidence to the contrary,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the US Congress Joint Economic Committee and member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement to Insider.

He added: “It’s good to see support for a reasonable increase in the rate from business leaders as well as former top Republican economic adviser Gary Cohn,” referring to remarks made just last year by Trump’s former National Economic Council director that, actually, 28% would have been a decent place to arrive at in the 2017 tax law.

Republicans have repeatedly made their opposition to tax hikes clear. Top Republicans also blasted companies for wading into the country’s hot-button issues like voting rights.

“From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

Experts like Schuler said large companies won’t weigh into every social issue unless the pressure to do so becomes impossible to cast aside. He pointed out that large businesses hadn’t weighed in on another set of proposed voting restrictions in Texas.

“To some extent, I think businesspeople want these issues to go away,” he said. “They hate it when the spotlight is on them.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

A breakdown of what’s in Trump’s new office – including a nearly hidden bottle that suggests he’s drinking Coke despite calling for boycott

trump mar-a-lago
Donald Trump outside the entrance of Mar-a-Lago on December 21, 2016.

  • Trump advisor Stephen Miller tweeted a photo of himself and Trump in Trump’s new office Monday.
  • Eagle-eyed observers noticed what looked like a glass Diet Coke bottle hidden on Trump’s desk.
  • Days earlier Trump told his supporters to boycott Coca-Cola for opposing Georgia’s new voting laws.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Donald Trump is back on Twitter. Well, sort of.

The former president made a guest appearance on Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller’s Twitter Monday in a photo of the two taken in Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago office.

The long-time Trump advisor offered Twitter users a glimpse into the Trump’s new working conditions since he took up residence in the South Florida club after leaving office in January.

But eagle-eyed inspectors were quick to notice a poorly-concealed taboo on Trump’s desk.

Just behind a telephone on the desk, a glass bottle of what appears to be the former president’s well-known favorite soda, Diet Coke, can be seen partially open and apparently drunk from.

The not-quite out-of-sight soda bottle is particularly notable in light of Trump’s recent calls to boycott Coca-Cola products made just a few days before the picture seems to have been taken.

On Saturday, Trump released a statement calling on Republicans and conservatives to “fight back” against “WOKE CANCEL CULTURE,” by boycotting companies like Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, JPMorgan, Chase, UPS, and more who have all protested Georgia’s restrictive new voting law.

Early in his presidency, a New York Times profile revealed Trump drank roughly 12 Diet Cokes each day and even summoned housekeeping staff to bring him a can of his favorite soda via a button on his desk.

A close inspection of Miller’s photo also revealed a pair of reading glasses resting on Trump’s new desk – a departure from the man who very rarely allowed himself to be seen wearing glasses. In 2019, The New York Times reported that Trump disliked tweeting in front of other people because he needs reading glasses to see his iPhone screen. Instead, Trump preferred to dictate his tweets to then-White House social-media director, Dan Scavino.

No word on how or when Trump dons the glasses since he’s been permanently removed from Twitter.

Miller’s photo also highlights a telling piece of artwork in Trump’s office. In the corner of the room, overlooking the former president’s desk hangs a framed picture of Mount Rushmore.

According to The New York Times, in 2019, a White House aide asked the office of South Dakota’s governor, Kristi Noem, how to add more presidents to Mount Rushmore. Noem said during her first meeting with Trump in the oval office she invited him to come to South Dakota sometime, boasting of Mount Rushmore. He reportedly replied: “Do you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?”

In the corner of the photo, sitting atop a side table and partially blocked by Miller, stands a miniature statue of what appears to be Trump himself; a tangible ode to a self-admittedly, self-involved president.

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Peter Rice takes charge at ABC News

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising for April 6. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

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Peter Rice Disney Fox
Peter Rice.

Disney’s Peter Rice has asserted control at ABC News while the search for a new head continues

Read the story.


Bottles of Coca Cola

Coca-Cola, Delta, United, and 7 other companies blast Georgia’s new voting law in a wave of corporate backlash

Read the story.


tim cook apple logo

Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to take jab at Facebook saying App Store would be better with ‘more social networks’

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More stories we’re reading:

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Why some Coca-Cola bottles have a yellow cap

In the 1930s, Coca-Cola began producing their signature soft drink with a different sugar substitute, sucrose, that made it kosher for Passover. Jews observing Passover cut out chametz, or any grain-based products that are capable of leavening. Some Jews also cut out kitniyot, which includes foods like rice, beans, peanuts, and corn. Regular bottles of Coke contain high-fructose corn syrup which is not kosher for Passover. Today, bottles of Coca-Cola that are kosher for Passover have yellow caps instead of the traditional red ones. In addition to the yellow cap, the bottle has a Passover certification symbol.

The Hechsher, or the Ⓤ marking on many common food items, is a signifier that the food is certified kosher. Kosher for Passover items require an additional Passover hechsher. There are various symbols that appear on food packaging. The symbols differ depending on which kosher organization has certified the food and the contents of the food. The small letters next to kosher symbols signify if the food is dairy, meat, pareve (neither dairy nor meat), or kosher for Passover. You can find the Ⓤ on Oreos, Coca-Cola, and many other items people purchase regularly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2017.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Activists pressure Atlanta-based companies like Coca-Cola and Delta to take action against Georgia voting law

Georgia polling place
A voter walks to the entrance during early voting for the Senate runoff election, at Ron Anderson Recreation Center, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Powder Springs, Ga.

  • Georgia just passed a new law that changes voting and elections in the state.
  • Coca-Cola, Delta, and Home Depot all gave statements in support of voting rights.
  • Activists are pressuring the companies to try to force them to do more.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Georgia just passed a law with new voting restrictions, and activists opposing the new measures are not satisfied by the broad statements made by companies based in the state.

The SB 202 bill makes changes to nearly all aspects of voting and elections in the state, Grace Panetta reported for Insider. The most controversial aspects of the new law include a ban on volunteers giving water and snacks to voters waiting in line, more stringent voter ID laws for absentee ballots, and “ballot selfies” are banned.

Read more: Some investors cut corners on due diligence to make deals go faster as competition to win deals grows fierce, VCs say

Civil rights groups and Democratic elected officials, including President Joe Biden, have condemned the law as voter suppression. Civil rights groups including the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, and the Georgia NAACP have filed federal lawsuits against the law as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Activists have criticized the companies for not doing enough to speak out against the bill. “#BoycottDelta” and “#BoycottCocaCola” were each used in tens of thousands of tweets since March 23, The Atlanta-Journal-Constitution reported. “Do not fly Delta. Do not spend money with Delta. Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta,” commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted.

Religious leaders of the AME Sixth Episcopal District of Georgia are among those calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola. If “Coca-Cola wants Black and brown people to drink their product, then they must speak up when our rights, our lives, and our very democracy as we know it is under attack,” Bishop Reginald Jackson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Voting rights groups have expressed anger and disappointment, too.

“We are all frustrated with these companies that claim that they are standing with the Black community around racial justice and racial equality. This shows that they lack a real commitment to racial equity. They are complicit in their silence,” co-founder of Black Voters Matter LaTosha Brown told The New York Times.

Many companies expressed support for racial justice last year, and activists see their actions now as missing follow through on earlier statements.

“It seems to me perfectly legitimate for Black voters in Georgia to expect them [corporations] to speak just as powerfully and directly about what is an unwarranted attack on the ability of Black voters to participate in the political process” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc Sherrilyn Ifill said.

On March 15, protestors held a die-in at the World of Coca-Cola against the bill. Coca-Cola addressed calls for boycotts in an online statement: “You may see comments and calls for protests and boycotts of our state and our company. We have never wavered on our point of view and we have and will continue to meet with a wide array of stakeholders inside and outside of Georgia to hear their views, work together, and advocate for greater voting access.”

Georgia-based corporations have so far only offered broad support of voting rights without addressing many specifics of the bill.

“We believe voting is a foundational right in America and access should be broad-based and inclusive. Throughout the legislative session, we have been active with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in expressing our concerns and advocating for positive change in voting legislation. We, along with our business coalition partners, sought improvements that would enhance accessibility, maximize voter participation, maintain election integrity and serve all Georgians,” Coca-Cola said in a statement to Insider before the bill was signed.

“Last week controversial Georgia voting legislation was signed into law. While we are disappointed in the outcome, we don’t see this as the final chapter,” the Atlanta-based company added after it was passed.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian gave a similar statement.

“Delta believes that full and equal access to voting is a fundamental right for all citizens. Over the past several weeks Delta engaged extensively with state elected officials in both parties to express our strong view that Georgia must have a fair and secure election process, with broad voter participation and equal access to the polls. The legislation signed this week improved considerably during the legislative process … Nonetheless, we understand concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation and there continues to be work ahead in this important effort. We are committed to continuing to listen to our people and our communities, and engage with leaders from both parties to ensure every eligible employee and Georgia voter can exercise their right to vote.”

Home Depot did not comment on the bill directly at all.

“We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair, and secure and support broad voter participation. We’ll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote,” the company said in a statement to Insider, listing examples of how it carried out a Get Out the Vote campaign.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

TikTok owner ByteDance may be worth more than Twitter and Coca-Cola as a public company

TikTok
An iPhone user looks at the TikTok app on the Apple App Store in January 2021. Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • TikTok owner ByteDance is trading on the secondary market for $250 billion, Bloomberg reports.
  • Investor confidence in the company has increased as it weighs an initial public offering.
  • ByteDance was valued at $200 billion just a month ago and $140 billion in 2017.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of video app TikTok, may be worth $250 billion – a valuation that beats Coca-Cola and far outranks Twitter, Bloomberg reports.

Coca-Cola is valued at $228 billion, and Twitter is $48.8 billion, according to Markets Insider data. Just last month, ByteDance was trading at a valuation of $200 billion on the secondary market, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

In April 2017, the Beijing-based startup was valued at $140 billion, according to CB Insights. Shares have risen as the company considers an initial public offering and investor confidence increases, Bloomberg said, citing the sources.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: China’s tech giants are exploring a way around Apple’s privacy changes, and the move could have major implications for Apple’s relationship with a crucial market

ByteDance’s app TikTok has come under scrutiny in Western countries for potentially sharing user data with the Chinese government, but the company has denied the claims.

TikTok, which has more than 100 million active users in the US and about the same in Europe, previously had a spat with the US government, which was planning to ban the app under former President Donald Trump.

The company is now reportedly creating a Clubhouse-like app for China, as the exclusive audio platform sees success in the US and was blocked in China in February.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway scores $17 billion gain across 5 stocks as value stages a comeback

warren buffett
Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett has racked up $17 billion in gains across just five stocks this year.
  • Berkshire Hathaway’s Bank of America stake has soared in value by $9 billion.
  • Buffett is up more than $1 billion on Kraft Heinz, GM, and US Bancorp in 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Warren Buffett is winning big from the flight to value stocks ahead of the global economy reopening this summer. The famed investor’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has notched an astounding $17 billion in gains across only five stocks this year.

Buffett’s company is up $9 billion on Bank of America alone. The banking group’s stock price has surged 30% since the start of January, boosting the value of Berkshire’s enlarged stake from $30 billion to $39 billion.

Moreover, Berkshire has scored a $3.7 billion gain on American Express, as the financial-services group’s stock has jumped 30% this year. It has also made $1.5 billion on Kraft Heinz, $1.4 billion on General Motors, and $1.3 billion on US Bancorp in under three months.

Buffett’s bets on five Japanese trading houses last fall are delivering too. Itochu, Mitsui, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, and Sumitomo shares have gained an average of 26% this year, lifting the combined value of Berkshire’s holdings by $1.6 billion.

Other Berkshire investments are outperforming as well. Chevron, Suncor Energy, and Synchrony Financial have all climbed more than 20% this year, while Wells Fargo – previously one of Berkshire’s biggest holdings – has rallied 37%. Meanwhile, the benchmark S&P 500 index is up 5.8% this year.

However, Berkshire’s gains have been partly offset by the recent exodus from tech stocks. Apple – which makes up more than 40% of Buffett’s US stock portfolio – has slumped 7% this year. The decline has wiped close to $8 billion off the value of Berkshire’s stake.

Berkshire has also taken a hit from Coca-Cola, leaving its shares worth about $900 million less today than at the start of January. The company’s also down about $400 million on both Snowflake and Verizon.

Buffett’s signature approach of sniffing out high-quality, undervalued businesses and investing for the long term is finally paying off. Yet if growth stocks do take off again, his Apple wager will likely flourish. It appears Buffett’s found a way to have his cake and eat it too.

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